In August of 2022, our chapter was officially approved to begin working with the community of Walugoma, Uganda. The community applied for the EWB project in May 2020, and the vetting report was completed by Habert Ongom in February of 2021. This community of about 1,150 members does not have a clean and reliable water source which has led to lost time, severe illness, and premature death. In Uganda, 17% of deaths in children under the age of five are simply due to diarrhea and other related illnesses. The women of the community spend the most productive hours of their day fetching water from their current distant source.
We have yet to have a phone call with the community, but we are planning to before the trip to discuss the project and establish a relationship. As of right now, we have regular meetings with the EWB East Africa Regional Office, Mathias Bakaki from Light Up Hope Uganda, and Rogers Waiswa from Bountiful Missions Uganda to facilitate this trip and our relations with this community. The UCLA EWB chapter is also conducting a project similar to ours around two miles away, so we have met with them to learn more about their experiences with a similar project in the area.
The project is located in Walugoma, Uganda, about 64 miles east of Kampala. It is an agriculture-heavy community of roughly 150 households and 1,150 people. Currently, their primary source of water is an open spring one kilometer away that they share with cattle and wild dogs. As a result of this unsanitary water source, members of the community often suffer from disease. The distance to the water source has also presented problems for the community. There is also an existing borehole 800 meters from the community, but they are unable to use it due to conflicts with neighboring communities. At the time of their application, the community did not have a water board; however, they have since established one. They are untrained, and will need to be trained on how to properly operate and maintain the system. The community has already voted in support of implementing a borehole and well, however, we will make sure that this is the best option through our alternatives analysis.